Rental Car Company Liability for Car Accident – Suing a Rent a Car CompanyGenerally, rental car companies will have insurance policies that are available for purchase to supplement or even override your own personal policy. The most common form of insurance offered is a collision damage waiver, which will free you of any responsibility of fixing the car for any cosmetic damages accrued in a crash. There are other, more expensive policies available that are also more expansive. They may have liability coverage, which will cover you and your passengers for up to a certain amount of money in the event of any injuries; personal belongings insurance in case any items are stolen or broken; and more. Insurance adjusters are trained to provide you with the lowest settlement amount for your injuries. If you were injured in an accident with a rental car, you may choose to pursue compensation from the rental agency’s insurance provider. However, you will only be able to do so in certain situations. Rental car agencies are not liable for the damages that occur in accidents. Therefore, you cannot sue a rental agency if a customer of theirs hit you. However, the company does have certain standards of care that it must adhere to when providing rented vehicles. These standards include:
- Age of the customer: Prospective renters must be over the age of 21 to rent a vehicle from an agency. If a fully-licensed individual is allowed onto the road with a rental car, the company can thus be held liable for any accident the underage individual gets into.
- License of the customer: All customers must have valid driver’s licenses that identify them. If a driver has no license, he will be barred from renting a vehicle.
- Insurance of the client: Customers of rental car agencies must have valid insurance. They cannot simply purchase what the insurance company offers.
- Vehicle status: Rental car agencies have dozens of cars available and must have a high turnover rate, as many vehicles are not in use for longer than a handful of days. Thus, each vehicle should be deemed road-legal and free from defects and potential hazards. Agents must inspect the cars when they are returned.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Involved in a Rental Car Accident?It may be confusing and frustrating to be involved in a rental car accident. You might not know what to do, who to call, or how to go about filing any report. This feeling can be worsened if you were severely injured. As long as you follow these steps, you will be safe and protected and able to file a sufficient lawsuit after you have gathered your evidence.
- Safety always comes first. If you were injured, contact emergency medical help immediately. You should get checked out regardless, as some injuries may not show up immediately, partially because of adrenaline. You should also do so to make sure you have no gap between the injury and treatment, which can be used to cast doubt on your lawsuit.
- Take pictures and gather evidence from the other motorist. If there are witnesses, ask them for their information as well. You may get pictures of the scene of the accident, your injuries, the damage to the vehicles, other angles, and more.
- If you are the driver of the rental car, notify the rental car company and ask them what their policy is. You can also file an incident report.
- Ask the rental car company for a copy of all important information, including the rental agreement, the company’s insurance coverage, the accident report, and more.
- Contact a local rental car auto accident attorney regarding your case.
Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents on California RoadsThere are many ways that car accidents happen. Although many are shared by both tourists and locals alive, some are more likely to occur than others are. Examples include:
- Driver does not understand the traffic rules and roadway nuances of the visiting location
- Inattentive and distracted driving, whether by texting, calling, using a GPS, or sightseeing
- Drunk Driving – all too often, tourists drink and use illicit drugs during their stays, which can cause them to operate the vehicle with no inhibitions and no reflexes or reaction time
- Poor roadway conditions, such as fog, rain, broken street lights, defective streets, and more
- Rental Car Liability, which is the failure to properly maintain, inspect, or repair the vehicle as the rental car agency should have done
- Defective tires, which can lead to tire blowouts or broken axles
- Defective brakes, which may cause brake failure and rear end collisions
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Earnings from a Rental Car Accident LawsuitIf you have been involved in a rental car accident in California, contact our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers at the Downtown LA Law Group. We can help you obtain compensation for your damages, including the following:
- Medical Costs – Hospital and emergency room visits, surgery fees, ambulatory transportation
- Future Medical Costs – Medication and prescription drugs, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and extended home care
- Lost Wages – Past and future loss or reduction of wages due to a disability or recovery time
- Pain and Suffering – Emotional distress, fear, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Punitive Damages – where possible, which are additional forms of monetary compensation that are handed out in times of gross negligence or an intention to cause harm; however, these are difficult to win